A few weeks ago, some ex–New York Times critic started up a conversation about chefs cooking outside their own ethnicity, specifically an Irish dude at Tertulia cooking spot-on Spanish food. So, over at the James Beard Leadership Awards last night, we asked the “pope of Spanish food” himself (his words, jokingly), José Andrés, whether a guy with the last name Mullen could indeed pull off the paella: “I would tell you ‘no, no way,’ and that ‘an Irish’ can’t cook, and that would make the news on the web-sphere for 24 hours! But if you know what I do in life — I have a great Turkish, Lebanese, Mexican, Chinese, avant-garde, Spanish, and now an American restaurant — you would know that my answer is obviously baloney. Actually, I think a foreigner sometimes has a true sensitivity to what others can’t see; I always loved how Hemingway was able to see through his lens what the Spaniards were not able to. And that’s how it might be with Seamus Mullen.”
Chef knows how to play the “web-sphere”!